At Torrance Event, Governor Brown and Local Leaders Defend Gas Tax

Governor Brown touting the benefits of CA's gas tax increase. Left to right are: Torrance Transit head Kim Turner, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, CA Governor Jerry Brown, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, and Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey. Screen capture via Muratsuchi Facebook video
Governor Brown touting the benefits of CA's gas tax increase. Left to right are: Torrance Transit head Kim Turner, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, CA Governor Jerry Brown, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, and Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey. Screen capture via Muratsuchi Facebook video

Wednesday morning, California Governor Jerry Brown came to Los Angeles County’s South Bay to speak in support of S.B. 1 – the recent gas tax increase that is funding transportation infrastructure around the state.

Brown, joined by L.A. County elected officials, appeared at the site of the future Torrance Transit Park and Ride Regional Terminal. Construction is just getting underway for the Torrance transit center, which is scheduled to open in mid-2019.

Torrance’s transit center will initially serve bus riders, then later become a Metro Green Line Station. The future Green Line extension is largely funded by Measure M, which anticipates the extension would open circa 2030. The project is targeted to be accelerated under Metro’s 28 by 28 initiative. In April, the state awarded Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program grants, which included $231 million for the Torrance extension.

If Republican-led efforts succeed in repealing the gas tax increase, then funding for the Torrance Green Line extension would need to come from somewhere else.

Governor Brown urged Californians “to vote ‘no’ on those crazy efforts” to repeal S.B.1. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and State Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi all echoed Brown’s defense of the gas tax increase, saying a repeal would lead to congestion, traffic, and failing infrastructure.

View a video of the Torrance rally at Muratsuchi’s Facebook page.

  • Guy Ross

    Can we simply remove any type of subsidy at all for each and EVERY form or transportation?

    Gas should be six bucks (20 for aviation) and a bus ticket should be four and if you want to store your car on public property, start paying for those 200 square feet of surface area we are providing you.

    Guess what will happen: buses will be full, parking lots empty, sprawl will stop and government budgets balanced.

  • LazyReader

    A dedicated highway lane devoted to buses can move 600 buses per hour, with departures every five minutes can move a capacity of 24,000 people per hour which is on par with a 4 car light rail. These ambitious transit projects don’t matter anyway. Short distance passenger trains (2-10 miles) were rendered obsolete by buses in the 1920’s, long distance passenger trains (500+ miles) were rendered obsolete by planes by the 1970’s. The only market left is the intermediate distance travel market (50-300 miles) and that can be accommodated by buses with more luxurious features. Micro buses once they’re off the highway can go straight to their destination. Like I said before, transit ridership is declining virtually everywhere in the US because..

    – agencies have sacrificed actual transportation providing for building infrastructure empires and saddling future taxpayers with debt

    – maintenance and upkeep are being sacrificed for the addition of expensive new projects at the expense of cutting services in the sectors that need it most.

    – Virtually every transit agency in the nation is nearly broke; namely the pension and health care obligations. Many of which were signed in the 80’s and 90’s are now up for renegotiation. Even knowing that it would have a hard time funding its contractual obligations, they went full steam on spending on new transit projects

    – THE ALTERNATIVES to mass transit are either faster, more convenient or cheaper.

  • Taufik Abidin

    I think they need to fund transit, but more cost-effective. I just think America is obsessed with big and new things. No need to build a rail if you don’t have to. Just allocate lane, street and roads as busses/Cargo only, and then how big the truck/bus must reflect the city.

    The problem is also the big sprawl where everywhere is so far.

  • LazyReader

    Using gas taxes to subsidize something that doesn’t generate enough ridership that it’s fares couldn’t even cover a third of it’s operating expenses. Torrence is a hicktown of 147,000; the fact they want millions on some transit station is nothing short of jaw dropping when for less money mini-buses can probably carry all it’s daily riders.

    There’s really only three ways to make infrastructure spending decisions. One is in response to demand signals. How much do things really cost and will people really pay for them? The second is in response to political signals: who benefits, who pays, and who is most powerful, That invites nepotism, corruption and graft. The third is in response to religious criteria: which projects are supposedly more sacred or moral than others; which invites inefficiency and waste.

    The very act of subsidizing transit further only exacerbates their financial negligence. The result has been a huge perversion of spending priorities. A propensity towards capital spending over operations and maintenance. And grandiose projects rather than simple solutions. This, of course, has led to the massive multi billion dollar maintenance debacles in the New York City, Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other heavy-rail systems, increasing public debts and decreases in actual transportation services.

    The industry is already collapsing despite the subsidies. The passage of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, cities quickly municipalized transit and private and still profitable transit companies became boondoggle building, federal tax exploiting waste machines with a political machine embedded to keep the finances rolling regardless of
    ridership rates. What subsidies did was incentivize agencies to abandon cost
    efficiency user orientation and start building rail lines out in the boondocks and suburbs for people that barely use it all the while ignoring the core market. Transit amounts to less than 1% in all but a handful of approximately 360 census defined urbanized places. In other words, if transit disappeared tomorrow most people would hardly notice…or care. Outside a couple of cities like New York it’s not vital to urban economies.

    Transit agencies should prepare for the inevitable phase out of their rail systems in places where it’s largely unnecessary; Stop building new rails and saddling future
    taxpayers with debts. Replace their existing lines with buses. Subsidize people rather than agencies who really need transit (lower income, elderly, handicapped) with transit vouchers redeemable for ride services or destination mini or micro buses to fill them to capacity rather than running empty buses across town all day. Start paying down their debts and unfunded pension and health care obligations instead of pursuing some holy crusade of getting higher income people out of their cars. For a fraction of the money they could spend on an advertising blitz of TV ads and billboards encouraging people to carpool more. Ride sharing services have decimated public transit ridership in small cities and towns, namely because station-to-station destination based technology cannot compete against door-to-door destination technology.

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